Kings 103, Jazz 99
Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal and feuding starting center Spencer Hawes put on a little scripted celebration together before the tip, and the fun continued after the game started.
Beno Udrih scored a season-high 25 points, Tyreke Evans had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 103-99 victory Friday night over the Utah Jazz.
If there were some internal problems plaguing the Kings, for one night at least they were forgotten. Hawes was back in the starting lineup after watching Tuesday's game in street clothes for disciplinary reasons, according to Westphal. Hawes had been critical in a story in Tuesday's Sacramento Bee regarding Westphal's allotment of playing time.
In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Westphal followed Hawes out on the court for pregame introductions and was extremely animated, chest-bumping and exchanging both high-and-low fives with Hawes.
``If you want to see that again you'll probably have to go back to YouTube. I doubt I'll pull that one out for a long time,'' Westphal said. ``It's been three days of reading about the coach and player hating each other and that was never really it. It (the routine with Hawes) was just kind of fun.''
Hawes and Westphal had talked after practice Thursday for 20-30 minutes and settled their differences.
``We're moving on, what happened is now water under the bridge,'' said Hawes, who played well from the start, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes.
What also happened was a team that had been playing unenthusiastically at times over the past month played with energy throughout. Sacramento survived a back-and-forth final quarter that featured five ties and two lead chances to win for only the fifth time in its last 28 games and snap Utah's seven-game road winning streak.
Carl Landry also scored 15 points for Sacramento. The Kings shot 54 percent and made 12-of-17 shots in the fourth quarter.
Carlos Boozer had 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Jazz, who had won 18 of their previous 21 games. Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 points, and Deron Williams added 10 points and 13 assists for Utah, which shot 41 percent and scored only two points in the game's final two minutes.
``Well, you have to make shots and we didn't shoot the ball very well,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. ``They made it tough on us, kept us on the perimeter and we seemed to enjoy it out there.''
Udrih made a rare start and proved he belonged on the floor right away, getting 10 points in the opening quarter. He was even better in the fourth, making all five shots and scoring 11 points.
``They (Evans and Udrih) both played well together,'' Williams said. ``Any time Beno comes out and gets 25 points, it's tough to beat them. And Evans makes me look small and he's able to do so much around the lane. He's a tough matchup for any point guard.''
After Landry made two free throws to give the Kings the lead for good at 99-97 with 1:53 remaining. Evans followed with a free throw and perhaps the biggest basket of the game. He took Williams in the lane and made a short jumper to put Sacramento in front 102-97 with 14 seconds left.
``That's going to be a nice matchup for the next decade or so in the Western Conference,'' said Hawes of the Willams-Evans duel.
Despite Boozer's 11 points, the Jazz couldn't pull away from the Kings in the third quarter. Andres Nocioni scored six points off the bench and reserve Sean May had five, helping the Kings stay even at 75-all heading into the fourth.
Kirilenko scored 12 points and Boozer had nine in the opening half for Utah, which used a late second-quarter run to assume a 50-49 lead. Both Evans and Udrih had 10 points for the Kings.
NOTES: Kings starting forward Jason Thompson injured his lower back in Tuesday's loss to Detroit and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Wes Matthews, a rookie from Marquette, played with both the Kings and Utah in the summer league. He eventually signed with the Jazz as a free agent and has started 24 games. The Kings opened the season winning 10 of 13 at home, but now own a 14-14 record.